Terre des Hommes Netherlands participated in a high-level national celebration event in Uganda during the International Day of the Girl Child, with the theme for this year being Digital Generation, Our Generation. This event was held at a crucial time as Terre des Hommes Netherlands embarks on its new global strategy that sets out the goals and objectives the organisation will work towards to expose hidden and underexposed forms of child exploitation with a keen focus on lobbying and advocacy.
The national celebrations presented an opportunity for TdH NL, through the She Leads programme, to emphasize the need to increase girls and young women's access to digital skills and platforms to enable them to learn, thrive and contribute to decision making for the social and economic transformation of the country.
The main objective of the national celebrations was to voice concerns and reflect on the performance of existing strategies, programmes and projects aimed at making girls´ rights a reality in Uganda. The national celebrations were also aimed to launch the revised Guidelines for Prevention and Management of Teenage pregnancy in school settings in Uganda, 2020, launch a multi-media campaign targeting parents to protect and promote the well being of children at home during the Covid 19 pandemic, and affirm the sustainable development goals, Africa Agenda 2063, Africa's Agenda for children 2040 and Uganda's Vision 2040.
Speaking to those in attendance, The Chief Guest, Her Excellency Janet Museveni stated, ¨It's important for us to properly situate the theme of this year's IDG, which is Digital Generation, Our Generation. It is good to aspire for equity and equality by advancing issues like the right of access to education, nutrition, legal rights and participation in the digital revolution. However, all these are enabled by good upbringing and a strong foundation of early childhood development which only the family can guarantee. If we are to have an active digital revolution for all diversities, we must urgently reposition the family in all these efforts. This is the first building block for proper wellbeing.¨
James Yesiga, the Uganda Country Manager Terre des Hommes Netherlands, presented on digital equality on behalf of all Civil Society Organisations. He stated that it is important to note that increasing girls’ and young women’s digital skills involve early and sustained exposure to digital technologies. He added that interventions must reflect a multifaceted approach, enabling girls and women to acquire skills in a variety of formal and informal contexts at home, in school and in their communities.
He proceeded to emphasise that without equal access to technology and the internet, girls and women would not be able to equally participate in increasingly digital societies. Furthermore, he said that holding back girls and women affects multiple aspects of their lives such as their access to learning, as well as their ability to speak out and campaign on issues that matter to them. He affirmed that he had been engaging with girls who expressed both their enthusiasm for engaging in online spaces, as well as some of their frustrations and the barriers to their access and equal participation.
He called upon various stakeholders, especially the government to make a concerted effort to strengthen digital initiatives and activities that enable girls to learn, thrive and contribute to decision making for the social and economic transformation of the country, through the following:
A 16-year-old She Leads Uganda girl representative gave recommendations to different state actors and civil society organisations on behalf of all girls in Uganda. Some of the recommendations she cited to attain access to digital platforms for all girls in Uganda included:
With the world going through a digital revolution, Terre des Hommes Netherlands is committed to ensuring that no girl or young woman is left behind.
In the words of Uganda's Minister of Gender Labour and Social Development, Betty Amongi, ¨If we are to raise a generation of girls who are change-makers, technology is a crucial tool to support their work, activism and their leadership.¨
Click the links below to watch snippets of the day´s celebration: